As residents of the Sunshine State, Floridians often find themselves engaged in legal battles seeking justice and compensation for personal injuries or damages caused by others. However, 2023 has brought a significant change to the laws that help personal injury survivors act in civil court.
Florida recently passed new tort reform laws that have sparked widespread discussions and raised concerns among residents. That conversation has led the Florida personal injury lawyers with Viles & Beckman to delve into the implications of this reform and how it affects the people of Florida.
What Is Tort Reform?
Before delving into the details of the new tort reform law, it is crucial to understand the concept of tort reform. “Tort reform” refers to the changes made to existing laws that govern civil lawsuits, specifically those related to personal injury claims.
More often than not, these reforms limit defendants’ liability and place caps on the damages awarded to plaintiffs. Personal injury attorneys operating in Florida have to stay on top of tort reform to more effectively represent clients recovering from recent injuries.
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Florida’s New Tort Reform Law
The recent tort reform law in Florida introduces several key changes to state laws. These changes have far-reaching consequences for individuals involved in personal injury cases as well as parties interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in the future.
While the specific provisions may vary, let’s explore some common elements found in tort reform laws and their potential impact on Floridians:
Statute of Limitations
Florida’s tort reform law seems set to change the state’s personal injury statute of limitations. The statute of limitations, Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), refers to the timeframe in which injured parties may file a lawsuit against the party allegedly liable for their losses.
Florida’s upcoming tort reform may shorten the window for filing claims down from its current four-year grace period. This reduction may make it critical for individuals to promptly seek legal advice and take action within the prescribed time limits.
Reduced Right to Medical Compensation
The tort reform law also reduces the amount of evidence that a person may bring forward to prove the total value of their accident-related medical expenses. This reform can reduce the amount of damages a jury awards an injured party.
Implications for Floridians
While tort reform laws often aim to streamline legal processes and reduce excessive damage awards, their impact on individuals cannot be overlooked. The implications for Floridians may include:
Urgency in Legal Action
Florida’s newly-reduced statute of limitations reduces the amount of time individuals and legal professionals have to investigate and act on their losses. While Florida residents still have the right to represent their own best interests in civil courts, it’s now all the more important for parties interested in legal support to connect with attorneys within weeks of their accident.
Anyone who fails to connect with a representative before their statute of limitations expires may lose their right to legal action entirely.
Increased Burden of Proof
How do attorneys know what forms of evidence may most effectively contribute to a person’s personal injury complaint? That depends on the nature of a person’s accident. Unfortunately, Florida’s new tort reform will require clients and their attorneys to weigh their evidence’s value, as Florida civil judges will no longer accept overly-evidenced medical malpractice complaints.
Stricter requirements for expert witness testimony could also increase the burden of proof for plaintiffs. It’s with these new restrictions in mind that it’s become increasingly crucial for personal injury accident survivors to build strong cases with solid evidence and professional legal representation.
Florida residents’ reduced ability to bring forward evidence of their losses may see civil juries reduce the amount of compensation that injured parties can receive. Injured parties who can’t adequately represent their losses under Florida’s tort reform may find themselves still contending with accident expenses even after negotiating a settlement with a liable party.
Florida Tort Reform Takeaways
Florida’s new tort reform law introduces significant changes to the state’s legal landscape, affecting individuals seeking justice and compensation for personal injuries or damages caused by others.
While proponents argue that these reforms promote efficiency and prevent excessive awards, it is essential for Floridians to understand the changes’ implications. More so now than ever, personal injury survivors should seek experienced legal guidance for help navigating the evolving legal landscape successfully.
Viles & Beckman remain dedicated to staying abreast of the latest developments in Florida’s legal system. We make a point to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation in civil court. You can contact us today to discuss your personal injury case. Our personal injury lawyers can offer you personalized guidance in light of the recent tort reform law.